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No Public Update On USCG Inquiry, As Kelch's Death Remains Under Investigation

United States Coast Guard

Eleven days after his body was found on the "west side" of Amaknak Island, the U.S. Coast Guard is still investigating the death of 19-year-old Ethan Kelch.

The crewman died in Unalaska last week while his vessel, the Cutter Douglas Munro, was in port for repairs.

"It's still under investigation, and we can't provide any comments as of yet," said Lt. Brian Dykens of the Coast Guard's public affairs office in Juneau.

While Dykens couldn't shed any new light on the cause of Kelch's death, he was able to explain the presence of a Coast Guard airplane spotted at the Unalaska airport last week.

"The C-130 was used to bring people in from Kodiak," he said. "You know, support teams. We had a chaplain and counselors who could help the [Douglas Munro] crew after that difficult time. They were able to support the crew during the grieving process, and once the cutter was about to leave port, everyone packed up and headed off on the C-130 again."

Dykens said the Coast Guard Investigative Service is working with local police to determine why Kelch went missing while off-duty the night of Saturday, Jan. 25.

The Virginia man was found unresponsive the next morning and declared dead at the clinic.

Laura Kraegel reported for KUCB from 2016 until 2020. She was KUCB's news director starting in 2019. We are proud to have her back in the spring of 2023 filling in as an interim reporter for KUCB.
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